The Humble PETITION AND REMONSTRANCE OF SOME HƲNDREDS of Retaylers, who have Sparkes of Charity, and Reason in them.

And of Country Chap-men of the Associated Counties, and of thousands of poore people besides: For the Restoring of Farthing Tokens; who are extreame­ly damnified, and are like to perish by the suppression of them.

Printed in the yeare 1644.

TO BOTH THE HIGH AND HONOURABLE HOUSES of Parliament.
The humble Petition and Remon­strance of some hundreds of Retaylers, who have sparkes of Charity, and reason in them; and of Countrey Chap-men of the Assosiated Counties, and of Thousands of Poore people besides, for the Restoring of Farthing-Tokens, who are extream­ly Damnified, and are like to perish by the sup­pression of them.

LAMENTABLY shewing: That these dismall dayes, (as it seemes) surpasse other destructive times. For now the Axe is laid to the rootes of Shrubs, whereas heretofore tall Cedars bare off the Stroake: And doubtlesse all the Engineers on both sides since these Warres began, have not by their Stratagems finished the dayes of more men; Then a very few Retayling Tradesmen by their gilded sinister suggestions (being meere covetous Earth-wormes) are like to doe; not only of men, but of women and children also: If consideration be not had of the Petitioners present complaint: Wherein the pretended Grie­vance, and Objections of these handfull of Retaylers (the poores ad­versaries, though their best customers) are really answered, and truly [Page] set forth: For the shadow of him that rides on the Pale Horse hath already made an impression in the faces of your Petitioners: And the vacuity of their Bowels by their inward contraction, sounds shrill, and loud in the eares of such as passe by them; and say, Woe betide them that were the cause thereof, &c.

For as much therefore, as all their temporall Hopes of present Reliefe concerning this their most urgent Cause, and best outward Piller that supports their very Being; depends wholly upon these two capitall Houses, or chiefe Courts of the Kingdome. They there­fore humbly beseech, That your Honours commiseration of their de­plored Estates may be answerable to your Greatnesse, and that the same may not be referred to any other Court; but that these ensuing Objections and Reasons may be here deliberately considered of, and according unto equity granted; That so your poore Petitioners faint­ing soules? may be revived, and maintained to pray heartily for your Honours prosperity.

The complaining Retaylers maine Objections against Farthings in their Petition printed, and presented to the Parliament two yeares since, are these, in their ownewords;

Viz.
Object. That the allowance of one and twenty shillings in Farthing-Tokens, for twenty shillings in money, hath been the chiefest cause of their great Burthen; For many covetous persons have usually fetched out great quantities of Farthings, and forcing them upon poore labouring people.

Answ. 1 They that complaine most of their losse, are (though it see [...]e a Paradox) the greatest gainers, because they are the chiefest Retaylers, and principall venters of their commodities to the poore. For certaine it is, that all such that in a Retayling way sels by Peny, halfe-peny, and Farthings worth, gain more by twelve pence in the pound at least, then other Shop-keepers do, that sell by greater quan­tities, &c.

2. The poorest people are these Retaylers best customers, and con­stant [Page] frequenters. If therefore the current of the poores Farthing Revenue be stopt; These complainants will lose by the decay, and ebbe of their custome, more then the losse of twelve pence in the pound; and then wish they had not leap't out of the Frying­pan into the fire, as some of them already doe.

3 If there were as many silver pence, and halfe-pences coyned as now there are Farthings; Yet those will not by a fourth part as much availe the poore as Tokens will; Partly in regard that it is the hereditary use, and inclination of men to delight in, and re­taine Silver more warily then Brasse, and partly because, he that can, or will give a Farthing, either cannot, or will not bestow a halfe-peny, or peny: And therefore that old saying, Many a lit­tle makes a mickle, is now a maine plea for the poore, and conse­quently for these few Silver-thirsty Retaylers, if they well un­derstood it.

4 If the apprehension of these Retaylers had been well com­posed together, and their minds freed from extreame covetous­nesse, they would never have lifted up their voice against Far­things, if they had conceived but these two Reasons only.

  • 1 In regard of the setled Excize, which turnes to their ac­compt, and cleare benefit twelve pence in each Barrell, which is two shillings in the pound gaine to them more then ever they had: For the Excize is but two shillings upon the Barrell; and they, when they sell cheapest, have peny farthing for each quart, which Farthing upon the quart, is just three shillings in the Barrell.
  • 2 To suppresse Farthings at such a time, when a quart of that liquor which refreshes the spirit of the poore, is raised a Farthing higher then ever it was; doth cause such a peevish continued trouble in their small distracted rules of Arethmetick; and is such a fretting whet-stone to sharpen the edge of their groanes, that it will endanger the renting of the clouds. Besides, it is most un­seasonable (as it is humbly conceived) that this mighty storme of the losse of three-score or foure-score thousand pounds at least [Page] should fall upon the distressed subject, when they are already in a languishing condition, through the decay of Trade, contracti­tion of mens hearts, and the absence of people; that there is as much elbow-roome now in this City, as in some remote Cor­poration Townes. Therefore a Reformation in this at present, is (as it were) a new peece of cloth stitched to an old ragged gar­ment, which will make the rent far worse.

5 That in their said printed Petition, they say some five hun­dred subscribed to it; Whereof, (if so) two parts of them are Victuallers, or victualling Chaundlers, who gaine more by the Tap, then by all their other Trinkets (and so much the more by meanes of the Excize) and but foure or five of these five hundred were the only Stickles, or Bell-weathers that tincklet the rest in (as heretofore they have under-hand attempted to doe) and these doe it, but to maintaine some superfluous sauce to their full dishes, having their eyes clos'd up with Sauls persecuting scales, that they cannot behold one glimpse of Providence, but what they find and feele in their owne fingers: Whereas on the o­ther side, here are ten times so many thousand, who are con­strained to make hunger their best sauce, and are glad to have where withall to sustaine nature, and behold Providence shine­ing each day upon them, as the birds of the ayre doe. Therefore, although Christianity lyes slumbering, yet the Body Politicke is awake; and surely will not esteeme more of a few full-fed, well-lined Retaylers, then a great number of Lean-ribb'd, thin-cloth'd Christians, that nothing makes the difference, but that the sheres went side-wayes in the cutting out of the peece; or [...] say that the Head hath no need of the little Toe, or of the very nayle there­of: But surely that Body will preserve all. For it is said, The poore you shall have alwayes with you; unlesse now by this means they will be altogether starved: As some report they are, who observe the weekly Bills of Mortality; That many already de­parts this life by a new kind of Plague, for not having the old Tokens about them, &c.

6 That without all doubt, these few complaining Retaylers know full well, that their said poore customers traficke neither [Page] for the Gold of Opher, nor for the Silver wedge of India, but (for the most part) possesse that mettall that suits most with their low estate, which are Farthings; And therefore these Re­taylers (let them say what they please in their petition) know­ing what Coine their said Clyants trade most in: Doe oft-times provide such ragged stuffe, and decayed Comodities for them; as withered costive Cheese, twice-bak'd Bread, Butter of a stronger odor, Drinke that stood long out of its proper element, and all other things in their defect; So that if they lost two shillings in twenty in Farthings; Yet, if their large consciences did not hold downe their hands they would lift them up, and lay them upon their mouthes, and say one to another Tace &c.

7 That this very point is the Gulph of their conceipts, and the mystery of their griping iniquity, mixt with vaine glory (viz) To suppresse these Farthing Tokens, that so they may advance their owne Tokens, Stamps, Seales, Names, Signes, Superscrip­tions, if not Images, as now appeares (though they be far inferi­our in dignity to Caesar) And also altogether oppugnant to di­vers waighty reasons both in the King, and his Royall Fathers Proclamations issued out for restraint of theirs, but for the allow­ance, and confirmation of these Farthings: By meanes where­of they rivet, linck, and incorporate their Customers unto them, and seale them up for their owne selves; so that they cannot move an Intch to any other Tradesman, because their Coin is not currant out of that narrow Clymate: Which thing in it selfe is really the greatest oppression that can be imposed upon distressed people; and makes good the last mentioned reason, That their poore customers will now be constrained to accept of their said decayed commodities, and at what prices they please: But these Farthings retaine that vertue in them, which is derived from a superiour Power, and therefore passe through to most places, and at all times.

8 That if these troublesome Retaylers had taken the paines, but to have pluck't out a peece of each of the beames that are in their eyes; they would have seene clearly how small a mote of Inconvenience these Farthings have made; and on the contrary [Page] what a Mountanous fallacy, and deceipt these their Tin, Pew­ter, Lead, Leather, Horne, and Wax Tokens doe bring to passe: For; when any of these Retaylers that have thus clinch'd in their said customers, either dye, run away or break (as it is a common accident in these tottering times) Then all these trashie inferiour Tokens are immediatly defunct, and choak'd up in the nest, and of no vse at all; So that whosoever possesseth any of them, are subject to a monthly fraud, and mutation; Whereas the other sort is scarce subject unto the like, once in a Coronation.

9 That the foresaid Country Chap-men doe (as it seemes by their froward words) faint under their present Assesments, and wonder that this unexpected By-Blow should fall so unseason­ably upon them, That they begin to Reele about, and say they have as many Farthings in their custody as will beare their charges awhile in the Kings Army, where they will passe: Yet being loath to leave house, and home; they most vigillantly at­tend the Carriers weekly returne from London to bring them happy Tidings of their Restauration againe; Which if they, and the rest, faile of their Hopes therein, It may (as it is humbly to be feared) beget some Inconvenience, that otherwise may be easily, and requisitely prevented.

10 That upon an Ayry suspition, or a meere invention, which some malignant Retaylers were alwayes prone to conceive for to suppresse Farthings, onely for their owne Ends; It was gives out, that Tokens were Imported from forraine parts; upon which Alderman Chambers was desired to make diligent enqui­ry of the truth thereof; which he accordingly did; and found, that none at all had been at any time imported, vnlesse they should be wafted from beyond seas within the Sculles of their Cunning Contrivings.

11 That these few Retayling Incendiaries doe at present Boulster up themselves in their hard-hearted Imaginations, and verily beleeve that the just out-cry of the poore is now hush't, and become but a nine dayes discourse, because they are some­what [Page] silent, through the feeblenesse of their bodyes, and contra­ction of their Lungs, and in regard they suppose some of these poore people have withdrawne themselves from these parts; If that be so; O; but then where are they gone into the Coun­tryes, and what can they hope to have there; but either Pilfer a little to linger our Nature; or otherwise to have scope enough under the Cope of Heaven, and the Covert of a Hedge, or Ditch to surrender up their last Breath into the hand of that Power that challengeth Revenge to belong proper unto himselfe; Who wil impresse such a knowing stamp upon them for their full Re­quitall, as they doe upon their paultry Tokens for the poores Deceipt.

12 That the State by the suppressing of Farthings lose a ve­ry Considerable yeerely summe; which surely would be better had, and reserved, then lost, and cast away like the snuffe of a Candle to offend others;

But howsoever these opposers of freindly Tokens abso­lutely confesse in their said printed Petition, That to lay downe the office will be inconveinent, for then (say they) all Retayling Trades will want small moneyes, and the poore Reliefe. Therefore the Remnants of their retayling wares, afford these scraps of Charity for a remedy to support the office.

1 The first is, That the Office be setled onely in the power of the Crowne.

Ans. That was their Conceipt when their Petition was then printed; and may be ordered as the State please; if they be now of the same mind.

2 The second is, That the Extrinsick Denomination, and the Intrinsick value of a Farthing may step somewhat neerer in proportion.

Ans. These are fine words that fils their brains to as small pur­pose, [Page] as such great peeces of Brasse would doe their Boxes: But the cause of their Grievance being removed (which is the suppo­sed losse of twelve pence in the pound) their Complaint being the effect thereof, will vanish away.

3 The third is, That it may be fellony either to Import, or Counterfeit them.

Ans. That may be ordered so, if the State please.

4 The last is, That no Advantage be allowed in the Issuing of them out, or returning of them into the Office.

Ans. Surely, this is but a very Close-fisted lumpish motion; To imagine that such extraordinary paines, charges and atten­dance should be bestowed about Farthings, and that no profit should accrue to the managers thereof: For which of them wil take the paines to compasse, and score out a Cheese into so many penny worths, and then receive no benefit by it &c.

But the present ease, and remedy humbly proposed, and earnestly implored from the rice of Dejected soules are onely these Three.

  • 1 That the State would be pleased so to order it; That all Covetous persons whom these Retaylers complaine of in their said Petition; who fetch out great quantities of Farthings, and force them in payments upon poor labouring people: May be en­joyned under a penalty not to force, or pay above twelve pence in ten, or twenty shillings in any such payment &c.
  • 2 That all the benefit, and profits of the said office may al­wayes remaine there in safe Custody under two or three Locks; and not hereafter to be transported beyond seas, as it hath been, but reserved constantly for Rechange, and vse of the State; And that the restoring of these Farthing Tokens and Confirming of the said office againe, may be by your Honours Order published in all needfull places.
  • [Page]3 And lastly; That forasmuch as there is now a unhappy [...]hannell cut out in the Kingdome, that is very proper to receive [...]is supposed flowing streame of Farthings (though it were [...] bigger) that overmuch waters the Meadowes of these few [...]etaylers Conceipts (viz) This war; That therefore the com­ [...]on souldiers may receive twelve pence or more in each ten shil­ [...]ngs of their Pay; Doubtlesse they would then vse such Retorick [...] all Corporation Townes where they came to, that without [...]y difficulty they would passe current; And surely they would be [...]ry necessary for them; because they might then have a pint Beere for a Farthing, which now they cannot have; And in­ [...]ed these Tokens are as vsefull in such places, as in this City: sides there is seldome any civill or vncivell Warres, but it [...]th its illegitimate Coyne; and verily, that Coyne is most pre­ [...]est to remaine at present, that was approved off on both sides [...]thin these few dayes.

By this meanes the floud of these few Retaylers complaint, will be wasted, and dryed up.

And the poores Revenue recovered from a Non-suit, and themselves revived.

And all men will expect that Old Things shall passe away, when a Long-looked-for Peace shall be established in our Israel.

FINIS.

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